Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm



Recent cases have emphasised the need for consistency in planning decisions, and to be aware of relevant earlier decisions, as Amy Truman finds out

Two recent High Court decisions emphasised the importance of consistency in planning decisions and the need for clear reasons to be provided where inconsistencies arise.

Clare Gregory rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Adam Hartley rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Trevor Ivory and Rebecca Buttle give an update on the use of CPOs

Compulsory purchase powers, the means by which the state can seize the land of private citizens, albeit in return for compensation, are by their very nature draconian. They have existed for centuries in one form or another, with the legislation that we have today originating in the railway building boom of the 19th century. The private companies that built the UK’s railway network were able to do so because they were empowered by private acts of Parliament to acquire compulsorily the land they needed. Since then, the prominence of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) has waxed and waned in response to political and economic changes.

Adam Hartley rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Clare Gregory rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Judith Hopper highlights recent case law on contractual variation

It is generally considered good practice to include in a contract a clause which states the following, or words to that effect:

Sophie Stewart discusses removing permitted development rights by condition and whether express reference to the GDPO is necessary

In March 2017, in the case of Dunnett Investments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017], the Court of Appeal was given the opportunity to clarify the question of whether it is possible to remove permitted development rights (PDR) by attaching an implicit condition to a planning permission, rather than one which directly references the exclusion of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (GPDO).

Jane Hannon rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Jamie Curle and Camilla Macpherson provide some pointers on drafting jurisdiction clauses from recent case law

As deals become ever more complex and global, the courts are increasingly being asked to adjudicate on questions of jurisdiction. These cases often turn on the wording of the dispute resolution clauses contained in the agreements at issue. Both the volume of reported judgments and the number of cases that have gone to appeal demonstrate how fiercely fought such satellite litigation can become.

Ian Green and James Hall analyse the implications of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 for housing

George Osborne’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 promises to double the housing budget from 2018/19 and focuses on support for low-cost home ownership for first-time buyers. We go behind the headlines to see what this could mean in practice.

Helen Hall examines a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling on whether it was lawful for an employer to access a worker’s personal correspondence

In this internet and social media age, it is no surprise that employers are concerned about how and when employees spend their time online. There are a host of issues to set alarm bells ringing, from underperformance during working hours to the leaking of confidential information, and from discrimination, harassment and breaches of contract to transmission of viruses. Employers can hardly be criticised therefore for wanting to have appropriate checks and balances in place, particularly for monitoring their employees’ e-mail content and traffic, social media use and web surfing.

Following new guidance from Acas, Gurpreet Duhra and Gemma O’Boyle consider some of the legal traps posed by the recruitment process

The recruitment process presents several legal risks for employers which can lead to claims from unsuccessful candidates as well as employees who are ultimately hired.

Proposals to make it harder to take industrial action may be less beneficial for employers than the government expects, suggests Tom Kerr-Williams

Proposals for what The Guardian newspaper has described as the biggest crackdown on trade union action for 30 years were unveiled by the government on 15 July 2015. The Trade Union Bill follows a Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce measures to ‘restore confidence’ in trade unions, including proposals to prevent what the manifesto calls ‘disruptive and undemocratic’ strike action.

Kelly Friedman considers the importance of international standards from a Canadian perspective

International standards foster international trade. They provide a worldwide baseline for quality, safety and/or efficiency for products, services and systems. International standards can encourage transactions to be consummated between entities in countries separated by distance, culture, language, history and legal regimes. As a simple example, consider a consumer goods distributor considering whether to enter into an agreement with a manufacturer outside of its jurisdiction; the distributor might take comfort in the fact that the manufacturer is certified to comply with recognisable international standards for its manufacturing process and quality control. In this way, international standards encourage international commerce by overcoming technical barriers caused when each nation, national standards organisation or company uses its own unique specifications.

Tom Kerr-Williams looks at the main parties’ pledges on pay, industrial relations and other employment law issues

The general election is shaping up to be yet another close-run thing. The three main political parties are still finalising their manifestos, but a number of key policies have been published already as the leaders embark on their televised debates. This article summarises the key policies of interest to employment law practitioners and in-house counsel.

Tom Kerr-Williams asks whether the UK has too much labour market regulation, too little or whether it is just about right

Benjamin Disraeli is commonly believed to have said: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’ Today, the origin of the phrase is in doubt, but whoever said it might add to that list global labour market data.

Nick Jew takes a look at the government’s proposals to tighten up the rules on industrial action ballots

The summer of 2014 may well be remembered as the trigger for a potentially seismic shift in the UK government’s approach to industrial action. On 10 July, an estimated one million public sector workers went on strike, bringing significant disruption to public services. Around one fifth of the UK’s schools were forced to close and council services, courts, job centres and airports were among the services affected.

Guy Lamb comments on the RMT’s failed challenge to the UK’s strike laws

Employment law has often been the battlefield on which socio-political issues have been played out in the courts. One such issue that has had particular longevity is the tension between the UK’s approach to regulating strike action versus the unions’ desire to enshrine a right to strike in the UK legal system.

Gurpreet Duhra analyses the potential impact of tribunals’ new power to penalise employers for breaches of employment law

A significant change to the employment tribunal system has been introduced by way of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA), which applies to claims presented on or after 6 April 2014. Section 16 of the ERRA provides employment tribunals with the discretion to impose financial penalties on employers that lose a claim, in addition to any financial award made to the claimant.

Uddalak Datta considers the implications of Pressetext on corporate transactions

Following the decision of the CJEU, in the case of Pressetext Nachrichtenagentur GmbH v Republik Österreich (Bund), APA-OTS Originaltext-Service GmbH and APA Austria Presse Agentur registrierte Genossenschaft mit beschränkter Haftung ECR [2008] (Pressetext), the rarefied world of procurement law, ordinarily of interest to public sector lawyers, has become relevant to corporate transactions.

Benedict Gorner and Clare Gregory summarise the employment law provisions contained in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

Employment legislation has rarely been out of the media spotlight recently, as the coalition government has moved ahead with its reforms aimed at slashing red tape and reducing the regulatory burden on business. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (the Act), which received Royal Assent in April, forms the centrepiece of this drive. Although by no means exclusively concerned with employment regulation, it does herald the biggest shake-up of employment laws for a generation.

Removal of employers’ liability for repeated harassment of employees by members of the public is misguided, warn Jonathan Exten-Wright and Suky Tour

The Plan for Growth accompanying the coalition government’s Budget statement in March 2011 revealed its intention to consult on removing what it termed:

Employment businesses and agencies could become effectively unregulated if government inspections are removed, warns Adam Hartley

The recruitment sector is a vital part of the UK labour market. It comprises both employment agencies, which introduce work seekers to employers to be employed directly (head-hunters), and employment businesses, which employ or engage temporary workers to work under the direction and supervision of another employer (temping agencies). Office for National Statistics figures indicate that the recruitment sector places over 1.6 million people into work each year and contributed £22bn to the economy in 2011. With companies increasingly seeking more flexible and mobile staff, and with workers willing to move across borders under varied work arrangements, private recruiters have become even more important to the efficient functioning of labour markets.

Restrictions in employment contracts are failing to keep pace with the rise of social media and ‘bring your own device’, warns Adam Hartley

Confidential information is often one of the most valuable but overlooked business assets. Every business has information that it considers gives it a competitive edge in the marketplace, but the protection of such information is often taken for granted. Confidential information can, of course, be subject to threats from outside the business due to theft, hacking or commercial espionage. However, the biggest threat often comes from inside the business. Employees have access to valuable knowledge about customer contacts, and financial and strategic business intelligence, which will be an attractive asset to any competitor seeking to encroach on the employer’s market.

Benedict Gorner analyses the government’s proposals to reduce unfair dismissal awards, introduce a code on settlement agreements and simplify the tribunal rules

On 14 September, the government announced proposals for the next stage in its comprehensive review of employment law. Although the majority of the proposals had been outlined before, the announcement provided significantly more detail about plans to:

Kate Hodgkiss welcomes a decision that has finally resolved the conflict in previous case law over employees’ right to take or carry over annual leave if they are on long-term sickness absence

Employers have been wrestling with the impact of sick leave on holiday entitlement for a considerable period of time. The headaches have been caused by a number of European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments interpreting the Working Time Directive (the Directive) in a way that has directly conflicted with the provisions of the UK’s Working Time Regulations 1998 (the Regulations). The stand-off between ECJ case law and UK legislation has led, in turn, to a number of conflicting decisions in the UK courts.

Jonathan Exten-Wright examines the current state of play with the government’s wide-ranging changes to employment law, including its controversial proposals for compensated no-fault dismissals

The government’s plans for employment law reform continue apace. In November 2011, the government published its response to its consultation on Resolving Workplace Disputes, which highlighted many of its proposals. Since then, the government has taken steps to implement many of the measures. In addition, it has issued several calls for evidence, including on no-fault dismissals, and has updated its Employer’s Charter. In March 2012, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published its Employment Law Review Annual Update 2012, setting out the progress made to date. Here, we take a look at the government’s employment law reform strategy and consider the principal features and what it means in practice.

Sandra Wallace considers what public bodies need to do to comply with the delayed Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, which came into force in September

Public sector organisations have had to grapple with their obligations under the race, disability and gender equality duties since 2001, 2006 and 2007 respectively. The Equality Act 2010 replaced these separate and different duties with a new consolidated and extended single public sector equality duty, which applies to all of the protected characteristics covered by the Act: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. As with the former equality duties, the new duty consists of an overriding general duty underpinned by specific duties set out in regulations, which are intended to operate as a means to better performance of the general duty.

Kate Hodgkiss considers how employers can reduce the risks posed by employees posting damaging or confidential material online

The use of social media has become an integral part of the way we live and increasingly affects the way we work, echoing the way in which the advent of email and the internet changed the workplace in the 1990s. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites link millions of people across the world every day and have become an important way for people to communicate. The nextfew years are likely to see a major growth in the use of social media in the workplace, whether as a method for organisations to communicate with a geographically diverse workforce, or to allow teams to collaborate and share ideas.